Announced shortly before CES 2022, the Jabra Elite 4 Active completes (for now) the company’s newest line of workout-friendly, truly wireless earbuds.
While they’re not the most exciting earbuds we’ve seen at Tech Expo, they are certainly among the top spec wireless earbuds for a relatively low price, with active noise cancellation, good battery life, and a design that makes them ideal for use makes during exercise.
While we have yet to test them out before we can make a final decision on whether the Elite 4 Active is worth the money, read on to read our first thoughts on the latest in-ear headphones from Jabra
Jabra Elite 4 Active price and release date
The Jabra Elite 4 Active is available now for $ 119 / £ 119 / AU $ 179, putting it at the lower end of the price range for true wireless earbuds.
They’re cheaper than the brand’s flagship Jabra Elite 7 Active, which is $ 179 / £ 169 / A $ 279, and more expensive than Jabra’s budget version, the Elite 3, which is $ 79.99 / $ 79.99 / 119 AUD costs.
By comparison, the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today, the Sony WF-1000XM4, are $ 279 / £ 250 / AU $ 449.
Available in black, navy blue and a memorable mint green, the Jabra Elite 4 Active is just as functional and well-made as all of the Jabra earphones tested so far.
Their soft covers don’t have wing tips to hold them firmly in your ears while you exercise, but the Elite 4 Active is still comfortable to the touch and they come with a range of different sized earbuds so you can find the perfect one. fit.
Unlike the Jabra Elite 7 Active, they don’t have a sticky ShakeGrip coating, but as long as you use the correct earbuds for your ears, you should find that the Elite 4 Active stays in place while you exercise.
Another workout-friendly design feature is the Elite 4 Active’s IP57 dust and water resistance rating, which means you can use it during your workout without worrying about sweating or a rain shower.
Each case has a physical button that you can press to control how your music is played, adjust the volume, answer, decline and end calls, and invoke your device’s voice assistant. It’s great to see that Jabra has on-ear volume control. It eliminates the need to take your phone out of your pocket, and this feature is often overlooked by earbud makers.
A small LED on each housing informs you about the battery status of the earphones, as well as whether they are in pairing mode, are switched off or are updating the firmware.
There is also an LED on the front of the charging case, which also gives you an indication of the remaining battery life. The case itself is made of plastic with a hinged cover and a USB-C charging port on the back. The plastic construction makes it feel a bit thin, but that’s to be expected at this price point.
Inside the Jabra Elite 4 Active are 6mm drivers and an equalizer that can be adjusted via the Jabra Sound + app, with which you can adjust the sound to your taste.
When you hear We Don’t Talk About Bruno from Disney’s Encanto, the percussion sounds beautifully detailed and the voices are clear and resonant, even if the harmonies get more complex. The bass sounds rich and well controlled, the highs are clear – even if they can sound a bit harsh at higher volumes.
In Pat Benatar’s hit Me With Your Best Shot, the electric guitars jump forward with a lot of energy and dynamics in the mix. Benatar’s vocals are also central, while the rhythm section sounds neat and tight.
Playing around with the EQ settings can really help you figure out what type of sound you like the most – for us, boosted bass and slightly rolled-away highs were enough and took the edge off the harsh highs. There are also a number of EQ presets to choose from, including Neutral, Speech, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Smooth, and Energize.
It’s a shame there isn’t an auto-pause feature when you remove the earbuds from your ears – but that’s more of a bogeyman than a deal breaker.
The active noise cancellation is pretty good, and blocks out a decent amount of ambient noise so you can hear your music with relative peace. There’s also a HearThrough mode that lets you hear your surroundings without removing the earbuds – you can also use a slider in the app to choose how much sound goes through the earbuds.
We found this feature less effective – for example, we heard a dog bark, but we missed a knock on the door.
Battery life and connectivity
According to Jabra, the Elite 4 Active lasts up to 28 hours with the charging case, with seven hours of playback on the earphones themselves.
While we haven’t had a chance to fully test this out yet, we will definitely challenge these numbers in our full review. This battery life is longer than the Apple AirPods 3 and the Sony WF-1000XM4 – albeit far less than the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0, which offers a whopping 80 hours of playback. However, Lypertek headphones do not have active noise cancellation, which can seriously affect battery life.
Connectivity is guaranteed thanks to Bluetooth 5.2 and coupling with our iPhone 13 mini was child’s play. To set it up, you’ll need to download the Jabra Sound + app, which will allow you to choose your EQ settings, adjust HearThrough levels, and update the firmware if necessary.
The Jabra Elite 4 Active may not be the CES ‘most innovative earbuds, but they are definitely among the best for the price.
It’s unusual to find active noise cancellation, good water resistance, and decent battery life at this price point, and the audio performance is excellent from our initial tests.
There are better sounding earbuds out there, but few under $ 150 / $ 200, and while it’s a shame the HearThrough feature isn’t as effective as we’d hoped it would be, the Elite 4 are Active still very impressive.